Olympic gold medallist Bruny Surin took thousands of steps during his racing career and they took a toll on his knees. But the sprinter’s joints are pain free, and he is crediting research out of the Centre hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal.

“My doctor told me I have arthritis and when I heard that I was like ‘That’s impossible, I’m an athlete,’” said Surin.

Surin’s joints had taken a particularly bad beating during his years running the 100 metre dash. Though each race was just 10 seconds, he said they took a toll over time.

“Every step we take represents four to five times our weight,” he said. “Back then I was 200, so 200 times four is 800 pounds of impact every step.”

A new knee kinesiography study from the CHUM’s research centre allowed Surin to access a treatment program specifically designed for the biomechanics of his knees.

“It’s a technology that measures very precisely and with good repeatability the movement of the knee. The idea is to try and target the mechanical deficits of someone suffering from osteoarthritis,” said CHUM doctor Nicola Hagemeister.

The study followed 450 patients over six months and allowed doctors to isolate each patient’s knee problems and motivate them with personalized data and exercises.

“If we can target these mechanical markers for these patients and help them get better than we could imagine people living better for a longer time,” said Hagemeister.

For his part, Surin said he’s happy to be pain-free again.

“Today I can walk and I can do my exercises and my biomechanics is on point,” he said. “I’m very grateful for that.”